By Anil Giri, IANS,
Kathmandu : Nepal will seek import of 10,000 cows from India to meet the demand for milk in the Himalayan nation when the commerce secretaries of the two neighbours meet here Dec 21.
In the meeting, both sides will be make concrete efforts to resolve outstanding issues pertaining to bilateral trade, transit and commerce.
The meeting of the Inter Governmental Committee (IGC) is the first high-level official exchange between India and Nepal after the Nov 19 Constituent Assembly elections here and is taking place after a two-year hiatus. It will take stock of the entire gamut of bilateral trade and commerce-related issues.
Nepali Commerce Secretary Madhav Prasad Regmi told IANS that Nepal would seek import of 10,000 hybrids cows from India in order to meet the demand for milk in the country and help dairy farmers here improve milk production.
"We have a shortfall of half million litres of milk daily on an average," he said.
However, the Nepal side is yet to decide on what modality should be worked out to seek such support, either in grant or in loan.
During the last IGC meeting held in New Delhi, the Indian side agreed to examine the issue in consultation with the government agencies concerned for which Nepal has been waiting since 2011.
Other issues like trade facilitation between the two countries, operationalisation of the Visakhapatnam port, waiving the additional four percent customs duty imposed by India on all export items of Nepal, and upgrade of transit and trade points will be discussed, said Regmi.
Issues taken up during the last meeting in New Delhi like unauthorised import of foodgrains and other items prohibited for export from India, unauthorised export of betel nuts from Nepal to India, intimation by Nepali authorities regarding stolen Indian vehicles, affixation of an additional one-time lock by Indian customs on traffic in transit between Indian ports and Nepal, and vehicle emission norms, will also figure in the talks, according to officials.
Restrictions on temporary import of used vehicles and equipment for projects in Nepal, operationlisation of rail transit facility through Singhabad for Nepal's trade with and through Bangladesh, review of bilateral rail agreement and status of its implementation, and simplification of modalities for traffic-in-transit between Nepal and Bangladesh through Kakarbhitta (Nepal) via India to Banglabandha corridor of Bangladesh, will be discussed.
Similarly, the Indian side will take up issues of facilitation of movement of Indian goods from one part of India to Nepali territory, and rail links between Indian and Nepali points.
Similarly, construction of a petroleum pipeline from Raxaul in India to Amlekhganj in Nepal and simplification of duty drawbacks procedures for import of petroleum products are also listed on the agenda.
The Indian side is also expected to discuss the issue of effective implementation of measures to check circulation of Indian currency of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 denominations, which are banned here for exchange and for other purposes.
The Indian side will also raise the issue of converting of survey licence into project development agreement (PDA) of Indian companies in Nepali hydropower projects for which at least three Indian companies are waiting for a long time.
Setting up of additional customs points, trade-related technical assistance, and harmonisation of standards and regulations will also figure during the meeting.
(Anil Giri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)